my lena girl turned five!

My sister and her family moved recently and so little Lena's big day was sort of lost a bit in translation during that process. So about a week later we all gathered and their new house to ring in five years with that precious little lady! And do not worry, my sister only moved like, six minutes further away from me and still in the same district so we can breathe! She didn't leave us!

an afternoon sight seeing in nyc

We left the history portion of our morning and arrived back in Battery Park. I had seen earlier that there was something called a Sea Glass Carousel and was like uhm hello! Four little ladies would love this and for $5 a girl I consider that a bargain. It was so fun and different! And the ride was actually pretty long so it felt more worth it....

lady liberty and ellis island

Some may think us crazy to attempt a Statue of Liberty visit during a single day trip to NYC.... and not just a day but we wanted to squeeze it into a morning. And that is just what we did. We had tickets to enter security after 9 a.m. and we were there a few minutes early with bells on! On that ferry! Heading to visit the Lady herself!

a foggy morning at the wtc

Way back in the long ago month of June two friends of mine (Toniel and Janelle) were on our back deck discussing the upcoming summer (you know, that summer that seemed to stretch beautiful and endless in front of us but is now coming to a halting end?) and we cooked up this plan to head to NYC in August with our girls (Baylee, Sylvie, Letty and Sydney), no boys allowed! The main event for those little ladies was to come but for the rest of the day the adults called the shots.  

peaches and pineview!

Last week my mom and I took the my kids and my niece and nephew down to Cherry Hill Orchards to pick us some peaches. Because it is August and that is what we do the first week of August. I'm still going to pretend it's the beginning of the month and not the middle of the month okay yes?

a tiny town birthday for syd!

Two of my nieces have birthdays the beginning of August... and one of them happened to have herself a birthday party at Tiny Town! I have been taking Dom here in December (here and here) because its always decorated so festive and what not for the holidays. But those bigger kids? Well they are just busy learning at school I'm sure and so they have not had the privilege. Dom felt like quite the big man explaining what they could expect and the older two couldn't wait to check it out!

We had the place to ourselves, just Syd's little friends and their parents. The theme was a fairy garden and Tiny Town had their party room decorated so cutely! The kids tore around the place and played so hard until it was time for a parade to dinner (I didn't get a photo of her but the birthday girl looked just like Slash with her long curly hair and top hat as she led the parade!)! We sang to Syd and then they had pizza and cupcakes before it was present time! And then of course more playing! All ending with a dance party and bubbles. I know that a nine year old and a seven year old are not their target audience, but they both had so much fun! It really is just the cutest little place! The staff even made sure to get an entire group photo and so they are speaking my love language....

a family birthday party for letty

Party party party around here. Always always always during the beginning of August. On my actual birthday we hosted our families for Letty's family party. Some swimming, some eating, lots of presents and cake and singing and then we ended the evening giving all my nieces and nephews balloons and annoying our siblings with said gift. The joy of a child with a balloon I will tell you what! And to know that they all leave with them!

She had chosen mermaids as her theme if yesterday's post didn't give that away... Which was basically a lot of me taking Letty's shell and sea glass collection and sprinkling them everywhere. She wanted hot dogs and my mac and cheese as the meal (yes I make like, one thing) and we supplemented that with a delicious summer salad and burgers. And of course her beautiful cake! I had her birthday dvd that took me hours to make on repeat too, as per the usual. And poppop even swam! And and and the rain held off until we were all inside and there was a rainbow! Birthday miracles!

We also had to recreate the annual photo of the four mamas who gave birth to four babes five (!) years ago! I love me photo recreation!

a friend birthday party for letty

I am so glad that when it comes time for the kid's birthdays and they ask for a party that I can just  nod my head enthusiastically and say yes, sure! A pool party! Because of all the birthday craziness that the first few days of August entails we decided to host the party on her actual birthday... just her and a bunch of her lady friends. I didn't cap her this year... not sure why, it just didn't occur to me. I think she invited something like twelve girls and with those pesky summer vacations we were down to a total of eight ladies! So we partied on with snacks and presents and rock painting and of course cupcakes! Letty chose this design herself, straight from Pinterest of course!

All these beautiful girls with their constant goggles headwear is something else is it not? I'm fairly certain that Letty's hair will never lose the bend in it from where the strap lands...

a hot morning at hersheypark

We haven't gone to Hersheypark nearly as much as we have in prior years... and I'm not sure why that is... tutoring maybe, or day trips, or the fact that we  have a pool.... But either way my sister and I deemed it was time to get up there and take advantage of the extra Sweet Start Hour and get some rides under our belt.
And to the kid's greatest joy, Letty and Dominic both moved up a height category! On to bigger and better rides we come! Dom took right off and wanted to ride the Comet and the Super Dooper Looper. No fear of roller coasters for that boy! We got a few decent thrill rides in for the bigger kids and then more tame rides in for the younger three... all with a side of a few character sightings! That extra hour really is great for getting a lot done! Not all rides were open of course but still, to beat the heat and the crowds it is key! 



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our final day at the beach

It feels like forever ago already that we were at the beach but I still have one day left to recap, as it were! Our final day started off as my days do, with a run. This time with my dear friend Janelle as it was her birthday! We ran a little and then we had ourselves some drinks and some beignets. I just ate all the things this weekend. Anything not nailed down. 

who letty is at nine years

What is your favorite age? For your kids, I mean, obviously. I look at these photos of Letty over the past nine years and I think, this! This was my favorite! And then I see the next and I go no no no! This was it! And then her sweet curls at age three I  mean that must be the best time! And basically I guess they are all my favorite times. I won't pretend that we are all sunshine and roses because anyone around us knows that  her and I are oil and water. I'm the water. She's the oil. But I love her more than I could even begin to describe. And now my most favorite little lady on the earth is turning nine. Today. Nine years ago today she made me the happiest woman on the planet by joining us earth side. Three years after Matt and I decided we wanted a baby here she finally was! And she was perfect! 

a beach day!

Beach days require such a lot of schlepping. Just call me Sherpa Laurie at that point. The amount of crap necessary is just beyond words. Whatever happened to a towel and a book? Maybe a pair of sunglasses?? We were up with the sun, as we do, so we packed up and hit the beach by 9. The rest of the family eventually joined too and we did our best to save the best real estate for them. 

horse island. but no horse sightings.

Last Friday we woke up and loaded up the boat with all the accouterments needed for six adults and five kids to survive an afternoon on Assateague... Of course that happened after coffee on the bay and a quick three miler (by me) and a bagel run. Must have those bagels! While I was running the kids were feeding the ducks or playing with their iPads while Matt's brother freshly squeezed a bushel of oranges for a morning drink... He takes great pride in his work what can I say?

the start of an olsen beach vacation weekend

We are coming down from a weekend at the shore these days... the laundry is done and everything is unpacked but I'm pretty sure there are tons and tons of sand still in our car... but a weekend with Matt's aunt and uncle and his brother and his brood are worth all the sand! If you ask me. We have been doing this since long before kids were involved and I'm so glad that we are still able to keep it up!

We headed down there right after Letty's last tutoring session, getting in shortly after three or so. We unpacked and swam while waiting for the rest of Olsens to arrive... My brother and his wife let us use their hatch thing that enabled us to not take the van.... amazing how much crap can fit in that thing! Also? I constantly forget that the end of July is crepe myrtle central down there. Those blooming trees everywhere just makes my day!

summer camps take two!!

So my parents wanted to treat the kids to their summer camps this year! Aren't we so lucky! Luckily our gym had camps for my two boys running the same week and same time and then Lena was able to join too! David did a baseball camp and the younger ones did a Preschool All Sports camp. We were excited!

a twisted sister visit

My very dear friend Janelle has herself an ice cream shop, Twisted Sister. It's not local to us but it is also not that far away that we can't like make an afternoon of it. This was a line item on my summer bucket list as well, I mean, all the ice cream! Some other mom friends and their brood decided to join forces and head up there for a little hike and a lot of ice cream last week! Four adults and eight kids (one was home sick poor kid)! We mean business!

The hike was a little rough due to the heat and things not being open to the public and so one and so forth. We did see some pretty wild flowers and the river and then we took the kids to a park. Mind, it was about a zillion degrees and disgusting out so I pity the girl working at the shop when we all came barreling in...

my my, here we go again

Letty found out that The Fulton was playing Mamma Mia this summer and she immediately wanted to go... However, money. I know lady friend if only money just grew from the birch tree in our back yard. But alas... It does not. So she decided that she would rather go see the show as her one and only birthday present. Talk about a shining moment am I right? So I made sure she was certain and off the boys and I went during one of her tutoring sessions to get those tickets!

A little background? Letty has loved the Mamma Mia movie since she was probably a year and a half old. I have these videos of her just standing in front of the tv in our old house bouncing along to the music.... Those were the days! It was always on in the living room as background noise and she constantly loved to dance to all that Abba music. I cannot even tell you how many times I have seen that movie she is and always has been so obsessed! And then the sequel! I know the content may be a bit adult but I assure you it flies right on over her head. She is like, a number one Mamma Mia fan! So to see it live?! I mean, a dream!

another week of summer moments

How how how!?!? I counted how many full weeks we have left until school starts (because I am a glutton) and it is five. Only five weeks left of this summer that really must get a speeding ticket or some such thing... so collecting these summer moments are really just giving me life at the moment. Well that, and coffee!

//Sunsets! I've seen a few! There can never be too many though!//Playdates with friends that turns into night dates//Slushees before 10 a.m.//Followed the next day by a Tropical Smoothie date (girl was living the dream during the boy's camps last week)//A quick visit with my brother and the Sadie after however many weeks abroad before they turn around and head out west.//Swim dates over the weekend with not one but two special families//And another sunset!//

annnnd david's friend party!

Also known as the last of his birthday celebrations!

So rookie move here, I didn't cap him at the number of friends he could invite. And so he invited nine of them. Which adds up to ten boys. In a pool. I just wasn't mentally prepared. It went so well though so don't get me wrong. It was just three hours of counting to ten repeatedly. And boys are easier in some ways, no drama or tears or fighting... and yet harder in others because all. they. do. is. jump. From the top of the deck mind you. 

david's seventh birthday party

Our kids get two parties. One for family, and one for friends. So up first on Saturday last was our family party! David had chosen a minion theme which was interesting but not entirely surprising. Everything was decked out in yellow and there were bananas and silliness ensued. We had some swim time first of course because hello have we met? We have a pool and if the sun is out we are using it!

field hockey summer camp complete!

Field hockey camp! It's such fun, each time they have it! And the friends that Letty is surrounded by are the absolute best! So last week was their summer session, and on the final day they all went swimming! This year just up the street from us! Best friends forevvvvverrrrrrr!

a birthday boy's birthday

We are just all about David around here these days. As it happens to be, around my children's birthdays. So. David's birthday fell on last Thursday and we did our best to make it special, even though his sister had field hockey camp. I let the boys sleep in and Matt was able to drive Letty to camp to make this happen. He got up, he opened presents, and then we headed out to get some coffee (for me) and a donut (for him). He got the donut for free and then we ran to a park quick before getting Letty.

some summer moments

Another week (ish) over! These days are just full of all things summer and fun and they are going at break-neck speed! So in the latest installment of What We Did This Summer...

The boys and I bought Letty her birthday gift, Mamma Mia tickets.//Swim days//Another ice cream stop on the trail, this time all the way in York County.//A triplet play date while the bigger kids had their own play date. A rare sight indeed!//Fireworks upon fireworks practically in our backyard//Play date with friends!//A visit to where Matt and I got married. Including an unexpected tour inside.//The kids had an epic night swim, complete with s'mores and a telescope moon viewing!//
I know once July Fourth hits the summer tends to fly by... What am I missing people? What? All the things!





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mill creek falls

Must find falls! I always love a hike with like a big draw. Either a good view or something that just makes it more than a walk in the woods. Not that there is anything wrong with that! These are relatively close to  us... if you consider driving forty minutes close... Just head south and right before you hit Maryland turn right and go across the river and there you shall find Mill Creek Falls. Matt banished hikes as of last summer until conditions improved. Meaning, until Dominic stopped complaining about walking. The older two were made to hike... but the baby of the family? Nope. He whines and all hiking ceases to be. 

I had read that this hike was less than five minutes so I thought we can handle this! Dom can handle this! It turned out to be less than five minutes. You could hear the falls from where we parked our car so. Winner. We walked around and the kids played in the water and if anyone nearby was trying to find peace and solace and enjoy the falls I deeply apologize. They were much bigger than I thought they would be! Photos of falls can be quite deceiving. We then had lunch on the river and checked out Holtwood Dam before heading to get some ice cream. Checking things off my list one item at a time!

the rest of our fourth

Typically we head to my parent's neighbor's house and hang out with a bunch of Greeks on the Fourth but this year they are in Greece (rude) so we were on our own. My parents had us back to their house for some foods and some sparklers. Thankfully we had a firefighter right in our midst.... Because safety first people.

All the good photos are my sister-in-law's, as it were. I totally overstepped my auntly boundaries and just took over with all the babies. If Harrison wanted to do a sixth sparkler who am I to say no? I feel like I am duty-bound to say yes! Always yes! And I may have accidentally taken away Audrey's first sparkler from her mother too... Which I am so sorry for! I am living for these babies these days. 

a rainy fourth afternoon

With the installation of our pool I was always excited to host our Fourth with my family. I had a pool growing up and it was always the best day of the summer. Tons of family and good music and of course fireworks! We don't do the fireworks of course (because hashtag: dangerous) but we can have the pool and the swimming! Except then the rains came. And the sun stayed away all of the afternoon. But we still had the family and some swimming! Gotta take it when we can! The babies can nap. We can snack and have an adult beverage or two... and the bigger kids can swim and swing and play. 

Whatever did we do without babies in our lives? Am I right?

a fourth of july parade

Every year that we are able we all trek over to the neighboring town of Lititz for their parade. It's usually insanely hot. This day was no exception. We have learned over the years to have dinner outside of Lititz, just something simple, pizza! Then we drove over and sat at our usual spot. Which we will not be doing next year. Laurie of the future? Find another place to situate ourselves. It sure is pretty, where we sit... but this year must have been a new parade route and so there we all are, a half hour before the start of the parade, sweating... and waiting. For over an hour. And then when it does finally happen to cross our paths it just sort of sits there and waits for awhile. So anyways, other spot it will be! Trying to keep seven little kids from falling over the edge of insanity is no easy feat. It takes a village! Did I mention it was hot?

The kids do love this parade though! They get a ton of candy and love running out into the street for it... And lots of flag waving and clapping and cheering and the like. All with cousins! The things we do for tradition! And of course any photos worth their salt are my sister-in-law's.

cows and cream. of the iced variety

If you follow me over on the Instagram then you know that a friend of mine told me all about the PA Ice Cream Trail. You hit up at least five of the places on the list and get a stamp in a passport and boom! Free t-shirt. Since I would have done most of these anyways it just made sense to do it! 

My sister-in-law also decided to do this trail and she asked last minute if I wouldn't mind going to one with her... straight from the gym. Because that's how I roll these days. Gym first. Then ice cream. We decided on a place we had never been before... Probably because it was so far away and in the middle of Amish country. Lapp Family Farm. They did have quite the array of cute cows and the ice cream sure was good. But beware: it's cash only! And don't dress inappropriately. They don't like that.

another week of summer things

Just assume I'm like two weeks behind here...In the second-ish week of summer we...

Explored Central Market//Visited my Grammy//Biked on a new trail//Checked out another cafe//Visited yet another ice cream shop on the ice cream trail//Went to Parade of Homes with some of my friends (sans kids of course)//Got a visit from the ice cream truck//Hung out with family inside and out//Swam a whole lot//Got more ice cream//Went to a park//Back to Central Market//Watched a few summer-esque movies (Sandlot, Space Camp and Jumanji. Up on deck? Hook!)//More swimming//David finished up his first baseball camp//Hersheypark!